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Allergic to bees but really want a hive

 
Jen Shrock
pollinator
Posts: 363
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
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I really would like to have a honeybee hive. I will be planting swaths of wildflowers this spring to naturalize some areas of my yard this spring and will be adding various fruit bushes and trees along with veggies and the like. I think that the honeybees would be a huge benefit to the entire system and also having a supply of honey would be great.

Any suggestions since I am allergic to bees? Generally, if I get stung in my lower arms or extremities (as long as it is a single occurance), then it isn't too much to deal with. I don't know what would happen with multiple stings in my lower extremities. I know anything in my upper chest, neck area is a big problem. I live alone, so I don't have someone else to help with the hive. I have been trying to schmooze a friend into helping if I were to get one, but I cannot bribe him with honey since his parents already have a hive. Any creative suggestions would be appreciated.
 
tel jetson
steward
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Location: woodland, washington
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seems completely doable. I would recommend a top bar hive of one variety or another (Warré, horizontal top bar, Perone, etc.) so that you won't have all the invasive hive manipulations involved with most frame beekeeping. you'll limit your exposure to annoyed bees.

a good suit and veil should reduce your risk substantially. on several occasions, I have cut entire hives out of walls without getting stung once. that is a much more invasive procedure that takes much longer than any management I can imagine being necessary to maintain a top bar hive. point being, it's not really that difficult to avoid being stung.

I would also recommend getting a prescription for an epi-pen or other emergency medication in case you do get stung and have a serious reaction. and do your best to have someone else around when you're working with the bees. unless you're running a Lang or National using conventional high-intervention techniques, you'll probably only need to manipulate a hive once or twice each year, so it shouldn't be too onerous for somebody to help you out.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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there are stingless honey bees
they are smaller in size and i dont THINK they are as used to having honey harvested, but work good for small hives like a hollow log with a small hole in it for access for the bees

one could theoretically have multiple hives of stingless bees and harvest in a manner such that every hive got a few years between each harvest
 
Jen Shrock
pollinator
Posts: 363
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
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Tel - Thanks for the tidbit about the top bar hive. It sounds promising. I might be able to schmooze that one friend to help since he has been with his dad and video'd his dad at the hive while he himself had no protection and he did not get stung once. I do have an Epipen...I just need to make sure it is up to date and in the medicine cabinet where it should be put anyways.

Devon - I did not know that there was such a thing sa a stingless honey bee. Not that is something that is really interesting. Could you guide me the direction of finding out more about them? That would be a really promising proposition.
 
tel jetson
steward
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might be worth keeping a spare epi-pen with your beekeeping kit.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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i guess the ones i saw were native to australia, and given rediculous import laws you may have trouble getting some

but she does say the one time she harvested, she didnt get very much, so you may need a lot of these buggers to get the same amount of honey, but for someone who is allergic, it may be worth it due to them being stingless

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um5yPfKMybU


other than this video i dont know a whole lot about stingless bees, ive never kept them myself, nor have i seen more than this one video really, but maybe this will help you get going in the right direction
 
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